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Monday, 2 February 2015

Chiffchaff, Snipe and cheating on Nikon!

A Robin...... shot by Canon!!



For years I have sworn by Nikon. If someone had mentioned Canon I would have scoffed and looked at the clouds! It seems you're either Nikon or Canon, and you swear your allegiance to either one or the other. (Unless your Sony or Pentax of course...)
   Well, let me be honest, I scoff from a position of ignorance, and it's shameful! I have never tried a Canon, so couldn't compare the two!
   Today I decided to put that right! I asked my good friend Nick Stacey if i could borrow his Canon EOS 550D for a trip to RSPB Greylake up the road. He kindly said yes! What I wasn't expecting was his brand new £2000 lens attached to it! A Canon 100-400mm USM mark 2!
  How very trusting I thought! Not to mention mad!! He'd only been out with it once before!!
He's always taken stunning shots with his older 400mm lens so I wanted to give it a go myself!

Here is Nick's fabulous Flickr page and bird photo's;
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43174601@N06/

I found the camera and lens a lot easier to hand hold than my Sigma 50-500mm lens, it was a lot lighter! Unfortunately the sun had gone in by the time I arrived at Greylake! Typical of my luck!
   Still, I sat in the car park and took a few photos of the little birds near the feeders anyway.
After a few minutes I walked to the hide. On the way I saw a little Chiffchaff hunting for Spiders and bugs in the low vegetation by the waters edge. I also saw a couple of Water Rail in the usual place, in the cleared area besides the new open hide.
 On entering the old enclosed hide I was greeted by a few friendly familiar faces such as Nick Edge and Steve Balcombe, and a few friendly not so familiar faces too! As usual, everyone was kitted out for an Arctic Winter, whilst I was adorned in T-shirt and thin jumper! I will never learn! At least I had my hat on!! So whilst my fingers were getting frostbite, my ears were nice and comfy!

There were Snipe in front of the hide, the usual Ducks, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Shoveler, spread out over a wide area in front of the hide. A Marsh Harrier got everyone excited, coming closer from the back of the reserve, until doing a U-turn and going back again, just out of reach for decent pictures!! Even with super zoom lenses, you still need your subjects to come as close as possible to get the required sharpness and details.

The sun continued to flirt with us. It would come out for a couple of minutes whilst not a lot was happening, then disappear just before a Peregrine shot past!

After a while I had to get home, as Arsenal were on TV! (They won 5-0 against Aston Villa!)
  I did return later just before sunset as I thought I had lost a piece of strap from the camera harness I also borrowed off Nick! Luckily it was a false alarm, but I took a few more pictures whilst I was there just as the light faded...

All in all, I thought the photo's were decent, though I'm sure in good light they would be stunning!
   I'm still unsure whether to stick with Nikon or go over to the 'dark side' and give Canon a go!
  For now I will stick with my trusty Nikon, but in the future, who knows....

Below are some of the pictures I took with the Canon;





^Above^ - Chiffchaff


^Above^ - Blue Tit.


^Above^ - Great Tit.


^Above^ - Dunnock.



^Above^ - Top, Male Reed Bunting. Bottom, Female Reed Bunting.


^Above^ - Male Chaffinch.


^Above^ - Starling.


^Above^ - Marsh Harrier.






^Above^ - Snipe. The bottom pic also has a female Teal above!


^Above^ - A pair of Mallards getting 'jiggy'!


^Above^ - Just some of the Ducks in front of the hide.


^Above^ - Male Teal.



^Above^ - Male Wigeon.


^Above^ - Reeds during the day...



^Above^ - Reeds at sunset!